While the average online shopper spent more on purchases than last year, consumers who went out to the stores for Black Friday weekend spent less, bringing total consumer spending for the three day start to the holiday shopping season to $41.2 billion, just 0.5 percent more than last year.
A total of 195 million people visited stores and Web sites, up 13.3 percent from 172 million last year. Average spending dropped from $372.57 to $343.31 per person, said the National Retail Federation.
Online shoppers, who push traffic for parcel carriers, including USPS, were more frugal than the average but spent more than last year, paying $170.19 per transaction, up from $126.04 last year, according to Web analyst Coremetrics. On Friday, online sales were up 11 percent over last year to $595 million, said analyst ComScore.
“Shoppers proved this weekend that they were willing to open their wallets for a bargain, heading out to take advantage of great deals on less expensive items like toys, small appliances and winter clothes,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO. “While retailers are encouraged by the number of Americans who shopped over Black Friday weekend, they know they have their work cut out for them to keep people coming back through Christmas. Shoppers can continue to expect retailers to focus on low prices and bargains through the end of December.”
Online merchants are hoping for an even bigger day on Cyber Monday, Nov. 30, the first Monday after Thanksgiving. More than one-fourth of Americans shopping over the weekend (28.5 percent) were shopping online, according to the NRF survey.
On Black Friday weekend, 49.4 percent of shoppers visited department stores, up 12.9 percent from last year. Discount retailers saw 43.2 percent of holiday traffic. Outlet stores welcomed 7.8 percent, said NRF. Shoppers also visited electronics stores (29 percent), clothing stores (22.9 percent), and grocery stores (19.6 percent).
According to the NRF survey, nearly one-third (32.2 percent) of shoppers purchased toys, an increase of 12.9 percent from last year. Additionally, more people purchased sporting goods (12.6 percent vs. 11.4 percent last year), personal care or beauty items (22.4 percent vs. 19 percent) and gift cards (21.2 percent vs. 18.7 percent). The most popular purchases were of clothing (50.9 percent) and books (40.3 percent), which remained nearly unchanged over last year.
Contact Thomas L. Gallagher at email@example.com.